One of my friends has just had laser vision correction, so it reminded me of memories, and I congratulate her!!
I travel for lots of reasons and you’ve already read a lot about it, especially with the article my-favourite-animals.html.
However, the reason why I’ve been to Montreal is very different. In the past 2 years, I’ve been dedicated to accomplishing personal goals. Too many things that I left unfinished for lack of time or motivation.
The laser eye surgery to get rid of my myopia was on my list and it was done in 2017.
Friends advised me to go to a well-known clinic, Lasik MD which is everywhere in Canada including Montreal. I had never been to Canada before, and I really wanted to discover this country. With cheaper rates than in Europe, the difference allowed me to pay a week's holiday there. I didn’t need more to make me cross an ocean...
From my first phone call for information, then to making appointments and tests, and finally to surgery, everything was perfect. The staff at Lasik MD Montreal was very friendly and professional, they almost made me forget that I was there for a laser procedure, especially when the surgeon hugged me after the surgery to tell me that everything had gone well.
An impeccable organisation thanks to a very accessible team, which allowed me to complete everything in four days! My preoperative consultation took place on Tuesday, the laser correction on Wednesday, a last check on Friday and on Saturday I could fly back to Europe. Hard to be more efficient.
I had already consulted before but like many people I was a bit afraid, and I kept postponing. I regret not having done it earlier, there was no fear to have, the operation only lasts a few minutes, and the world is so much more beautiful without eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Between us, I didn’t find the operation pleasant, let's be clear, it's a bit like going to the dentist, it doesn’t necessarily hurt but it's uncomfortable. The two hours that followed were painful for me, a burning sensation that prevented me from opening my eyes but that's it. I had no other inconvenience or complication. It’s definitely worth doing.
The next day, I saw life as I hadn’t seen it for 25 years, and I had already forgotten what I looked like with eyeglasses!
The icing on the cake was obviously to discover Montreal, a cosmopolitan city, vibrant and friendly, with a hundred festivals a year, many exhibitions and great museums ...
Remember, I already told you about this city for Jean-Paul Gaultier's exhibition (Article fashion-exhibitions.html) and Barbie Expo (Article barbie-exhibition.html).
I enjoyed my stay there, a cross between the United States and Europe, a mix of history and modernity, but where they speak both English and French. Montreal is part of the province of Quebec where French is the official language. It’s the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
Last week I told you that you couldn’t die of thirst in Santorini (Article wine-in-santorini.html), actually in Montreal either, given the number of bars, pubs and clubs in the city. But above all, you can’t starve!
I highly recommend trying poutine, a typical Québécois specialty prepared with French fries, cheese curds and a brown gravy. This is the classic recipe, but many restaurants have created more, such as La Banquise which now serves about 30 different recipes ...
The smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s, an institution in Montreal, created in 1928. Expect to queue in the street before to get a table.
Don’t forget pancakes and maple syrup!! Some shops offer maple syrup tasting, take the opportunity to discover the different kinds.
And many more, bagels, crêpes…
After so much food, a walk is recommended, again the choice is not lacking, whether in the beautiful park of Mount Royal or along the St. Lawrence River.
This city was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535, a mountain he named Mont-Royal, that's where Montreal comes from. It is now Canadian second biggest city after Toronto, with more than 1.7 million people.
Here time stops, we relax, we breathe and we enjoy!
Montreal was a wonderful experience, as much as one from a personal and cultural point of view. This city is full of energy, no wonder it was voted the best student city in the world in 2017.
Shortly after, I took the plane to realise an even bigger dream, the freezing of my eggs in Madrid (Reread Article gift-from-science.html).
Now your turn to make your dreams come true...
Have a good week!
Love & Dream,
After talking about dinner (Article wedding-menu.html ) and champagne (Article champagne.html ) at my wedding, I want to tell the wines we had.
When we think of Santorini, we imagine the white facades and the blue-domed churches, the cliffs, the caldera, but what we forget is the vineyards. And yes, the island is full of them, nearly 1,500 hectares, and it’s one of the oldest vineyards in Europe, no wonder that its wine has become so famous.
The vines are shaped in a circle to form a sort of nest, called "kouloura", this method protects them from wind and sun. Two elements that are very present in Santorini.
For the place of my wedding, I had the choice between the chapel or the vineyard, completely by chance I chose the vineyard hahaha!
Venetsanos Winery in Megalochori. Located on the cliffs overlooking the caldera, and producing delicious wines, this was the perfect place for my solo wedding in Santorini.
White wine, red and rosé (unlimited) to satisfy my guests. Not to mention they were treated to a tour of the property and a tasting while I was doing my photos.
For my first wedding anniversary I opened the bottle that had been offered to me by Venetsanos, just to plunge me into the atmosphere again...
Certainly, a place that I recommend, for a visit, a tasting, shopping, photos and why not a wedding??
More information on their website: venetsanoswinery.com/
One of my favourite white wines is from Santorini, and that before I go to this enchanting island.
There are 3 grape varieties for white wine: assyrtiko, athiri and aidani. When assembled, we discover the Nykteri, a dry white wine to taste absolutely.
For red wines, count on mandilaria and mavrotragano.
Some houses also offer rosés, like Venetsanos.
But the island's most famous wine is Vinsanto, a sweet wine made from late harvests. Some may sometimes prefer the Mezzo, less sweet.
Feel free to visit Santo Wines, the Santorini Wine Cooperative, established in 1947 with 1,200 members. The view is also splendid and you can relax while enjoying a wide range of wines from the island.
And for those who want to know more, visit the Koutsogiannipoulos family Wine Museum in Vothonas. Eight metres deep and 300 metres long, this magnificent museum tells the story of viticulture in Santorini since 1660, as well as all the stages of its making. A wine tasting is also offered at the end of the visit.
Discover the vineyards of the island, you won’t be disappointed. Nothing is more extraordinary than enjoying good wine while admiring the incredible sunsets of Santorini.
One thing is certain, you cannot die of thirst in Santorini hahaha!
Have a lovely weekend!
Love & Wine,
Some of my friends made me dream (and warm) with their holiday pictures (Tahiti, Maldives, Cape Verde), so I thought that a bit of sunshine and scenery would be great!
Remember in the first article about Crete (crete-episode-1.html), I talked about the capital city Heraklion.
If Santorini is my beloved island because of my solo wedding (Articles www.blogaboutl.com/blog/category/solo-wedding), Crete also has a certain charm and today we are heading to my favourite city, further west, still on the north coast, to Rethymno.
Rethymno is the third largest city in Crete with more than 55,000 inhabitants.
It was built during the Minoan period and as Heraklion, this city has experienced a succession of cultures and civilizations (Byzantine, Roman, Venetian, Ottoman) as evidenced by some vestige.
It’s a charming city that I particularly like because it’s very pleasant to wander through the cobbled streets of the old town. There’s a sweet life here, a mixture of ancient city and seaside resort.
It’s a lively town with trendy shops, and for party goers, Rethymno is a student town so it provides an attractive nightlife with many bars and clubs.
The main attraction is undoubtedly the fortress, it’s still called by its Italian name the Fortezza because it was built by the Venetians in the 16th century, but the Ottomans seized it in 1646.
Thus the St. Catherine Chapel coexists with the mosque of Sultan Hibrahim, two monuments still preserved.
The view from 1307 metre length of ramparts also offers a breathtaking view of the sea and the city.
After so much stroll, beach is relaxing, and if Bali is the famous name of an Indonesian island, Crete also has a beach with this name.
It stretches between Heraklion and Rethymno and has four distinct beaches: Livadi, Vankotopos, Limani and Karavostasi.
A small video from the sky to enjoy this beautiful beach.
I hope you enjoyed this little Cretan getaway, there will be others this year, Crete is an island full of gems and next time we’ll talk about mythology!
Have a lovely weekend!
Love & Joy,
First article of the year and I can only be proud of last year and excited of the one to come.
Many things have happened in my life over the past two years, and I thank you for the support and love you bring to me every day.
2018 was the continuity of 2017 with the freezing of my eggs in Madrid (Article gift-from-science.html).
I was a finalist in a photo contest for the international art magazine 1340 (Link 1340art.com/), magazine that wants to display my photos since.
But also, a huge step in my life and my reconstruction, the creation of the blog that many of you follow now (Article why-a-blog.html), and some of my readers do not fail to remind me when I'm late in my publications! Thank you for your loyalty.
Incredible surprises came out of this, like my story that went viral in the international press, with icing on the cake, the cover of Closer UK and a TV interview on Alpha TV with Eleonora Meleti (Article 1st-tv-interview-behind-the-scenes.html).
Life is surprising, and the universe keeps showing us the way, but you have to know how to open your eyes and your heart, and that's what I’m learning to do day by day ...
Journalists don’t get tired of my story and another article in a British magazine is coming soon.
2019 should also see the publication of my book that I’m finishing writing. Another dream that I intend to achieve, and which I hope will definitely change my life. Some passages will be online soon!
Thank you to my friends for sharing some of the highlights of their lives in 2018.
Congratulations again to the happy parents: Chrisa & Kosta, Fay & Mike. Both couples have each a beautiful little girl.
But more babies coming in 2019, and many more celebrations!
One of the favourite moments of my year was certainly the wedding of my little sister in Champagne, a year after my solo wedding in Santorini (All articles here www.blogaboutl.com/blog/category/solo-wedding).
And also, the wedding of my friends in Paris, Christophe & Arthur (Article superwomen-3.html).
Not to mention all the beautiful people that I met and that led to new amazing friendships.
Many trips in 2018 and many articles to read or rediscover.
Around the world: Gran Canaria, Madrid (Article rainy-dayin-madrid.html), Athens (Article rainy-dayin-athens.html), Crete (Article crete-episode-1.html) with a new article to come, Santorini (Article santorini.html), Brussels.
In France: Annecy, Albertville, Grenoble, Lyon, Reims (Article champagne.html), Paris (Article disneyland-paris.html), Versailles (Article palace-of-versailles.html).
I wish lots of new adventures in 2019, and keep dreaming, it’s the first part of the journey!
I wish you all an excellent new year, rich of good surprises, beautiful people, iron constitution, love in gold and glittering joy!!
And Happy Epiphany!
Love & Joy,
P.S: for those who are in France, please keep me a piece of Epiphany cake 😉 or send me photos!
After my Christmas articles around the world, New York (christmas-in-new-york.html), Paris (christmas-in-paris.html) and Brisbane (christmas-in-brisbane.html), you understand how much I love this festive season.
Whether in the streets, shops or houses, Christmas magic is everywhere for our greatest joy, including in Reims (France).
But if there’s a place where you can really show off, it's at home! And the shops have understood that very well, because every year, we are tempted again and again to buy new ornaments even if our garage is already full of boxes.
And this year, I’ve bought a sheep for the crèche (hahaha).
From the famous Christmas tree to the dining table, including outside and every square millimetre of our interior, madness takes us and no question of leaving a single decoration not used in its box.
But finally, plates are stealing the show!
Every year, I become the Christmas tree fairy, how do you not know this fairy? Well, that's my tradition, you have the right to copy, I'm happy to share.
I like to believe that the tree is decorated with a thousand decorations, in a few seconds thanks to a magic wand, while the truth is, it takes two days minimum ...
You know it from now on, I’ve kept my childlike innocence, and I’m a fan of Frozen, which is very convenient to find ornaments.
Obviously, in Australia no real tree but Santa is still giving us presents.
Last year, I’ve also created a Santa’s Village with plushes.
When I start, it’s difficult to stop me and I admit that I love this period, because it lets my creativity express itself (a little too much sometimes hahaha).
From the fairy, I can quickly turn into a diva too, who said that the decorations were only for the Christmas tree?
Well this year, I think I'll be more in pyjamas, it's also good to relax, to eat chocolates and watch Christmas movies, well wrapped in my duvet.
Especially that sometimes, it happens that I take Christmas too seriously and I become too Christmassy! Hahaha
I don’t have a chocolate Advent calendar this year, so I’ve prepared a plate full of chocolates and stop people who already think that there are more than 25 chocolates! When we love we don’t count, and I have a lot of love for chocolate, and coffee too (Article to reread coffee-addict.html ).
Each family has its own traditions, some decorate their Christmas tree in November, others on Christmas Eve. Some trees are artificial, coloured or not, of all sizes. Sometimes presents are much bigger than the tree. Others don’t have a tree…
In Spain, a predominantly Catholic country, the crèche and its characters are taken very seriously, check the wall of a department store in the photos below.
Everyone builds their own world, pursues family traditions and invents new ones, even more with the arrival of new partners or newborns.
A tradition that I discovered in Australia and that I kept, Christmas crackers. They are part of the Christmas table decoration and are placed on the guests' plates.
We must crack the cracker with our table neighbour, the person who keeps the cracker, wins the prize that is inside. Obviously, the gift is a function of the price of the cracker, usually a trifle but it's funny.
Fortunately, only 3 days before to open the presents! I can’t wait for Santa to deliver me from my intolerable wait. I need to know among the 8760 wishes from my list (365 days per 24 hours, a gift per hour and day 😉), which one he has chosen!
As for the tree, everybody has its own rules, some families open the gifts on December 24, others on the 25th, and still others at any time.
This is the whole principle of Christmas, to share, to give, to receive and above all to express our love for each other.
Sometimes, however, we don’t really know what Santa Claus was thinking about, kitchen knives for Little Miss Trouble, fortunately no incident to regret that night.
And when we were very very nice during the year, we can have surprising presents under the tree ...
My favourite bar is in a festive mood too:
Thank you to all the people I love who sent me these beautiful pictures:
Santa Claus has asked me to help him this year, so no article next week, everyone will be too busy, see you next year!
And at the end of the article, two of my favourite singers who celebrate peace, freedom and love.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas 2018!
Love & Joy,
After New York (see Article christmas-in-new-york.html ) and Paris (see Article christmas-in-paris.html ), I had enough of snow and cold, so for this new article, I take you to the sun, and to a very special place, a country dear to my heart, Australia!
As you know, Australia is in the southern hemisphere, which means that it's summer in December.
Some say it's great, others that Christmas without snow isn’t really Christmas, for my part I loved every Christmas there and I have a merry memory about it, because far from our families and from our traditions (and snow), we learn to invent new customs and discover those of our adopted country. Nothing more exciting than novelty!
For 7 years, I’ve spent Christmas in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, and for nothing in the world I wouldn’t have missed this, because this city comes alive for the occasion and in summer, nothing more pleasant than hang out at night in the light of Christmas decorations and fireworks. It’s undeniable that I have kept my childlike innocence and I look forward to this time of the year that speaks to this part of me.
What I love:
• Picnic on the sand watching a Christmas movie on a giant screen, with children playing in the pool and the illuminated city in the background. Of course, I'm talking about open-air cinema at South Bank, Brisbane's artificial beach, where Christmas movies and cartoons are projected every night.
• Discovering the short-animated film projected on the magnificent facade of the Brisbane City Hall. The Christmas tale changes every year, and this year, it’s about a little girl who would like to live a white Christmas (it doesn’t snow in Brisbane). So, she goes to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole with her kangaroo friend, but soon she misses the warm weather and her swimming pool! I miss them too!!
• Having a wander through the beautiful enchanted garden of Roma Park, looking for Santa's fairies and elves. Absolutely magical! There is a long queue every year so it's better to be prepared, but it's a beautiful display.
• Admiring the fireworks every evening at 8pm from December 20th to 23rd. Brisbane is famous for its fireworks, including the Riverfire, held annually to close the September Brisbane Festival. But I must admit that Christmas fireworks is special and angelic with its own music and songs.
• Watching the Christmas Parade on Queen Street.
Everything I’ve mentioned is FREE, the Brisbane City Hall and its partners are happy to offer its residents and visitors these shows and entertainment for the festive season, so enjoy!
To know all about this season, visit these websites:
Christmas in Brisbane is mainly about friends and cooking! I’ve even had a Greek meal and I ate caviar for the first time!
But everything is turned upside down, we eat strawberries instead of clementines, we make barbecues instead of chimney fires, and we play bowls in shorts instead of going to the ice rink ... Very confusing at first but we accustom, and I admit it’s rather nice to wear summer dresses at Christmas.
Pavlova is the traditional Christmas dessert in Australia. It was created in 1920 in Australia or New Zealand when Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured these countries. It’s composed of a very crispy meringue outside and soft inside, covered with whipped cream and fruits. Perfect in hot and humid weather! However, mixing cultures is great, and some of my French girlfriends are very talented in yule logs!
If I remember these different Christmas, where have I been for my first Christmas? Noosa on the Sunshine Coast = beach. The second year? Coolangatta, Gold Coast = Beach ... Well, so many places here: the coasts, the islands, and of course the Great Barrier Reef.
And yes, the beach is part of the tradition in Australia. In general, families celebrate Christmas at the beach around a nice barbecue and watch Santa Claus surfing the waves. He has the right to relax after the crazy night he had!
You’ll notice how white the sand is, and it’s very fine too, like flour. However, there are certain places where swimming is strictly reserved for a certain population, these V.I.P.!
Don’t forget to send me a photo of your Christmas tree or to tell me about a tradition that is important to you: email@example.com
And thanks to those who have already done it.
Have a Merry Festive Season everyone!
And for those who want to see more about Brisbane, here's a beautiful video of the city:
I hope you’re feeling the Christmas spirit after my last article about New York (christmas-in-new-york.html). Today, I chose another truly magical city for Christmas: Paris. And you'll see, we'll go back in time, at the Belle Epoque ...
First, breakfast at the Café de Flore founded in 1887, a famous place to cross a few celebrities, and as it seems that I’m becoming one (Check page Media), it’s perfect.
I like to walk in Paris in winter, the air is fresh and invigorating, the light is peculiar on certain days, cold and bluish. And without the leaves on the trees, we see monuments and buildings differently ...
As a reminder, the Eiffel Tower was unveiled in 1889 during the World Fair in Paris. It consists of four pillars forming a square of 410 feet side, and it’s 1,063 feet high.
Unfortunately, no ice rink this year. Skating 187 feet above Paris was an unusual experience though!
However, we’ll be delighted with the almost 30,000 square foot of temporary ice rink (from December 16 to January 9) installed in the Grand Palais and titled for the occasion the Grand Palais des Glaces (The Great Ice Palace). For sure, a historic and magical place to slide...
However, to relax, nothing beats the beautiful Christmas shop windows.
Since 1909, Paris has automatons in its windows and every year, machinists and creators amaze us with great creativity and genius.
By the way I don’t forget to go shopping! And some stores, well, attract me more than others with their paintings of undressed Adonis.
A break from time to time, we are in the capital of world gastronomy!
In addition to admiring the illuminations, there are countless things to do in Paris at night, as in any major European city: restaurant (again, yes, I know!), theatre, concert, ballet ...
• The Moulin Rouge (Red Mill), so French! Created in 1889, the same year as the Eiffel Tower. Why a mill? There were about thirty on the hill Montmartre to grind grain, corn, plaster and stone.
• walk to Montmartre and admire the Sacré Cœur by night, this basilica was officially achieved in 1923.
• but also, the Bouglione Winter Circus, perfect for families, a 42-meter-diameter building inaugurated on December 11, 1852.
A little recap in a video:
Of course, I couldn’t conclude this article without talking about Disneyland Paris. The park lights up even more at this time of the year and Santa Claus doesn’t miss the opportunity to come. We have already visited together the park (To read or reread disneyland-paris.html) so in this article, I offer you a small video that puts us in the mood, we could almost smell Christmas by watching it.
And here for you, the song of the latest Disney movie, The Nutcracker and the 4 realms, so as not to lose our childlike innocence, and wait patiently before the arrival of Santa Claus.
Have a good week!
It's December 1st and Christmas is coming! I’m excited because I love this time of the year with its various traditions, all its lights and its performances. No matter the country or the city, there’s always something unique to discover.
All this month of December will be dedicated to this festival in different cities of the world.
Europe has already had its first snow and the city that we’re going to discover too!
I’ve been to New York several times and I love this city. But if there’s a time of year when this city is even more magical, it's Christmas time! And I was lucky to realise that dream last year.
Everything you see in movies or series is very real, New York is adorned with its best ornaments to delight everyone.
So, sit by the fire or wrap yourself in a warm blanket and follow me:
Whether in the stores, in the windows, in the street, in the Christmas markets, or in Central Park, magic is everywhere and takes you in its whirlwind of light, colours and enchantment.
The magnificent Rockefeller Center Christmas tree shines with 50,000 led lights, and this year it has a new very shiny Swarowski crystal star, made of 3 million crystals for 900 pounds.
The shops creatively compete every year to transport us to another world and they succeed very well:
But when it snows outside, and we start to get cold, better continue the adventure inside, it's just as magical, and it's a good excuse to shop at the same time!
I also like to take refuge in building’s lobbies, each entrance is decorated with care, don’t be afraid to venture, most of the time you’ll even find a coffee shop to relax, and you know my addiction for this drink (Article coffee-addict.html ).
The lobby decoration of the Empire State Building is my favourite, a mini museum on a few square meters.
The very famous 5th Avenue with its luxury boutiques decorated like nowhere else.
But if there’s an event not to be missed in this street, it’s the light show on the facade of the department store Saks. At the end of the article you will find the opening video 2018.
Central Park, with or without snow, is a unique place to wander and daydream, or in my case eat the famous cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.
The reason why I really wanted to go to New York for the holidays, it's due to my passion for art and dance. I’ve always dreamed of seeing The Rockettes and their very famous Christmas Spectacular at the Radio City Hall, with its 36 dancers lined up at the same time on stage. And in December 2017, my wish was fulfilled!
I took the opportunity to have a guided tour of the Radio City Hall, I’ve discovered its history, seen behind the scenes and met a Rockette.
The building was built in 1932 in the Art Deco style and it’s an integral part of the Rockefeller Center. And the show has been performed since then, which means for 86 years!
Even today, it’s the largest theatre in the world with a capacity of 6,000 people.
The Christmas tree chandelier at the entrance is in Swarovski crystal, 10,000 in total!!! It measures 35 ft tall and 17.5 ft wide, and weighs 3,000 lbs. I can assure you that it’s massively brilliant and impressive. Its installation takes 2 days.
Obviously after all this, I need a break, cocktail, cookie and burger, perfect combination!
Before concluding this article, I would like to request your participation. You have already decorated your Christmas tree or you’ll do it soon, so send me its picture at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will publish my favourite trees in the article of the 22nd of December!!
Wish you a lovely Christmas season everyone!!
The opening light show of the Saks 5th Avenue to enhance our Christmas spirit (from the 16th minute):
The summer holidays seem far behind us, so I thought it would be good to remember some good memories to brighten our autumn days.
Today we fly to Crete! Another island in the Aegean Sea, just in front of Santorini santorini.html. If Santorini is dear to my heart after my solo wedding , Crete has become my second home.my-solo-ceremony.html
Crete is the largest island in Greece with an area of 8,336 km2, with 1,046 km of coastline and more than 600,000 inhabitants. It's the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica.
Often cited in Greek Mythology, Crete is believed to have been inhabited for 130,000 years, and has experienced several great periods of development, associated with very different conquests and cultures: prehistoric period, Minoan era, Mycenaean civilisation (remember the mask of Agamemnon rainy-dayin-athens.html), Roman Empire, Byzantine, Venetian period then Ottoman, and finally attached to Greece in 1913.
Rich in this history, we find the traces of these civilisations in many parts of the island.
There is so much to say about Crete, so this article is the first in a series of a few episodes, in order not to miss anything of this beautiful destination. And to begin episode 1, the capital Heraklion and its surroundings.
Heraklion is the capital and largest city of Crete, with more than 140,000 inhabitants, making it the 5th largest city in Greece. Heraklion is also the largest seaport of the island and the main link to the mainland, not to mention the many ferries that serve Athens and the other islands of the Aegean Sea.
With the succession of civilisations, this city still has many vestiges, including a part of the ramparts, which offers a nice walk: Agios Minas Cathedral, Venetian Loggia, Church of Saint Titus, Morosini Fountain, Koules Fortress, the market, the Historical Museum of Crete ...
I also like its archaeological museum with the most beautiful collection of pottery I’ve ever seen, I keep visiting it, this museum is a jewel of the island, but I’ll devote a whole article to this subject very soon.
For those wishing to discover more about Heraklion, a video is available at the end of the article that will show you all the highlights of the city.
And like any adventurous day, a break is required! My favourite places: Crumb in the centre of Heraklion that reminds me of my Australian habits, matcha latte with coconut or almond milk, gluten free chocolate cake, but also Greek specialties like spinach pie...
Then, Spyridon, a few kilometres from Heraklion, at Kokkini Hani, paradise of dessert and ice cream, and my favourite place for waffles to accompany my coffee (last article coffee-addict.html), don’t count calories here hahaha!!
Next stop: Knossos!
The Palace of Knossos is the cradle of the Minoan civilisation, known as the oldest civilisation in Europe (circa 2700 to 1100 BC).
It covered nearly 5 hectares with the only main building of an area of 3 hectares.
It was composed of more than 1000 pieces, serving as both administrative and religious centre. This also included several areas dedicated to storage, especially for olive oil, wine, wool ...
The Palace was very modern with its equipment: natural ventilation system, bathrooms, toilets and running water.
There was also a theater that could accommodate 400 people.
It’s the largest archaeological site in Crete from the Bronze Age.
The site was discovered in 1878 by a Cretan antique dealer, then in 1900 Arthur Evans, a British archaeologist acquires it and begins a large excavation site.
The palace was rich in colours and frescoes, made of stones and uncooked bricks.
In addition, the Knossos Palace is associated with the legend of Minos King, where he lived and built the Minotaur’s maze according to Greek mythology.
To better imagine the size of this palace, a short 3D video for you, you will recognize some of the pictures seen previously:
And for those who prefer a relaxing day at the beach, there are nice spots even around Heraklion:
If it’s more convenient to rent a car to discover the island, I like to use public transport, it gives me plenty of time to admire the landscape. And that's what I see when I take the bus to go shopping:
A sunset is always special, no matter where, but Crete is truly inspiring! Have a good week!
P.S.: For those who want to discover more about Heraklion:
One of my favourite drinks is coffee. And stop laughing those who thought it was alcohol, it's a hobby it's different! But this is not the subject of the day.
It isn’t known exactly how coffee was discovered, although it probably originates from Ethiopia, but from the 15th century "coffee houses" appear in the Middle East. In the 17th century, its consumption spread throughout the world, first in Italy, then in the rest of Europe and finally in the United States. Which led of course to a growing production.
According to the statistics 2017 and to my surprise, the first consumers of coffee are the northern countries: Finland with 10.35 kg per person per year, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark ... Italy is 7th with 6.69 kg, France 13th with 4.80 kg and Greece 16th with a consumption of 4.52 kg.
I have been drinking coffee since the age of 14, from espresso to long black, cappuccino and from Greece freddo espresso translated by cold espresso. I discovered this drink during my stay for my solo wedding in Santorini my-solo-wedding.html and I admit that it's very refreshing during summer. This is a double espresso shaken with ice cubes. Then served in a glass filled with 2 third of ice.
A barista friend and I had a debate lately about the history of expresso, disagreeing with its origin, I did new research to confirm my statements.
Although Angelo Moriondo created an espresso machine in Turin, Italy in 1884, the original idea dates back to 1822 when Mr. Louis Bernard Rabaut, a Frenchman, decided to use steam to extract roasted coffee. Since then, this beautiful invention has continued to be improved again and again for our greatest pleasure.
I like coffee so much that I don’t sweeten it, I prefer to keep the full natural flavour, but I often accompany it with biscuits or sweets of all kinds at any time of the day. And coffee is essential when I have to get up at dawn to travel for an interview (Article to read or re-read 1st-tv-interview-behind-the-scenes.html).
Peppermint mocha in the United States at Christmas time is not bad either (Article to come), avoid the extra cream or otherwise we forget chocolates, some excess is ok but we still need to fit into our dress for NYE!
What is good with coffee is that I can find it everywhere, so even if I travel a lot, I always get my daily dose. I admit it’s a good excuse to meet baristas too!
Barista is an Italian word which means bartender, preparing all types of drinks. However, when the word has been introduced in the English language, it has slightly changed to describe the preparer of coffee and operator of an espresso machine. This description has been kept in French and German.
A love song to finish this article, because coffee and I, this is the longest romance I've ever had! Hahaha
I hope you all had a very scary Halloween this week, full of tricks and treats!!
I know that some were at Disneyland Paris, lucky you! Which reminds me of one of my articles disneyland-paris.html .
By the way, do you know where the word Halloween comes from?
Halloween or Hallowe'en is a contraction of Hallows' Even or Hallows' Evening, which means the evening before All Saints' Day or All Hallows' day.
My favourite place for Halloween is in Athens, it's a café called Little Kook. It’s in the city centre, close to the famous Monastiraki Square.
The decorations are incredible, I think there’s not a square millimetre unexploited. And to add to the already fussy atmosphere, a thick velvet curtain bars the entrance. Behind, one or two horrible witches are waiting for us to show the premises, and incidentally give us a table. Here pancakes, cakes, cupcakes are kings, in short, the scary kingdom of sweet! Don't try to resist, it's already too late...
Although Athens is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, sometimes it rains...
So, to complete my series of cities in the rain, after Madrid rainy-dayin-madrid.html, let's continue with this ancient city. You’ve already discovered a part last week 1st-tv-interview-behind-the-scenes.html, and I’ve promised to share some of my favourite addresses. So, grab your raincoat and follow me!
This city is full of incredible museums, and to start I take you to the National Historical Museum, located in the neoclassical Palace of the Old Parliament, Stadiou Street 13, Kolokotroni Square, Athens 10561. This building housed the Parliament of the Hellenes until 1935 and since 1960, this is the museum.
Its permanent exhibition traces the history of Greece from the Ottomans to the Second World War. It’s composed of innumerable objects and relics displayed in chronological order.
This year the museum also hosted a temporary exhibition presenting the different traditional Greek costumes, in collaboration with Playmobil. A fun and original way to attract children to discover this universe.
Well, you will say that I repeat myself but when it rains, I like to eat, well, when the weather is nice also hahaha!
So, for our break, I chose Cookie Land. I love this place for 2 things: their kataifi, filaments of filo dough filled with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and pistachios, and their vaflaki (mini-cubes of waffle) with bacon and cheese! With a coffee obviously (Article to come).
Let's continue with another museum that I particularly like, the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 44 rue Patission. It was established in 1889 and is the largest archaeological museum in Greece.
It displays nearly 11,000 objects on 8,000 square meters, from early Prehistory to Late Antiquity.
Museum where you will find the golden mask of Agamemnon! But also, an impressive collection of funerary objects, sculptures, Egyptian antiquities, and a hall dedicated to the ruins of Akrotiri, a city of Santorini in the Bronze Age.
A short walk in the evening, all cities have a particular charm in the dark, but I think Athens becomes even more mystical, as if time stopped. Well, almost, because here they like to party until late at night, and cafes, bars and restaurants abound with a splendid view of the Acropolis obviously! City Zen, 360, La Vista, Savaas ... Don’t be afraid to venture, the access is made by lifts hidden in small entrances.
Back to Kimon Hotel, I like staying here when I'm in Athens, it's located in Plaka, my favourite neighbourhood, halfway between the busy shopping streets and the Acropolis. So, I can walk easily or take the metro.
And to finish this busy day, a very funny Halloween video to relax. Enjoy!
Meta ta Mesanyxta 'After Midnight' with Eleonora Meleti on Alpha TV, Athens
Three years ago, when my ex-fiancé and I chose Greece to celebrate our wedding, I never thought how important this place would be to my heart.
From now on, this country is associated with my solo wedding in Santorini and my rebirth (Read previous article 1st-anniversary.html)
A few days ago, I was invited to a TV show on the biggest Greek channel. On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, thousands of viewers discovered me.
I wanted to share this special moment of my life, so here is this extraordinary day told step by step:
1 / I am not a morning person and waking up early is a torture. Nevertheless, I can get up without being grumpy for 2 reasons, whether I travel or work on my blog. This time, I get up at dawn for these 2 reasons!
2 / Head in the clouds, I fly to Athens.
Athens, which means the city of Athena, Goddess of Reason, Prudence, Military Strategy and Wisdom. What a highly symbolic place for my first TV show! I couldn’t wish a better place.
3 / I’ve asked what I had to wear for the occasion and was told: something comfortable for a late night show. Obviously, I’m very used to this kind of event, I do this every day, I knew immediately what to wear (ironic) - finally, after having tried all my wardrobe!
I finally opted for a romantic, elegant and feminine outfit.
Dress and belt: Promod
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Bracelet: Tiffany & Co. by Elsa Peretti
Hairstyle: Un Brin de Jenny
4 / I am picked up at my hotel to go to the studio. Very different from French studios which are very accessible in the middle of cities. This Alpha studio is very isolated and well guarded.
I go directly to makeup where other guests are already there, and also the translator for my interview.
A matte base, zero shine and nervousness that starts to rise even if my smile doesn’t show anything ...
5 / That's it, it's time, I discover the studio set
Many people, cameras, screens, and Eleonora, the presenter, who sees me and immediately comes to meet me. She is charming and very smiling, she puts me at ease instantly. Eleonora Meleti is a well-known and popular journalist in Greece.
Everyone on the set is adorable, they come to greet me, support me. There is even a half Greek Frenchman. The atmosphere is very relaxed.
They explain the process, install me and adjust my microphone, I take a deep breath and concentrate.
Making my first TV appearance was certainly not something I was prepared for. Especially when it comes to 30 minutes of interview. And to make the exercise worse, because as you know I don’t like when it’s simple, Eleonora was addressing me in Greek, the translation was given to me in English, so I answered in English making sure I was looking at my hostess, while the translator translated into Greek instantly. You’ve followed?? Because even me, I’m lost hahaha. So, in summary, my brain heard Greek and English at the same time and I had to try to answer without always remembering the questions!
But I think that watching the video doesn’t need any comment, my interview starts from the 36th minute, unfortunately it’s in Greek, the subtitles are not yet available, however there is a nice video at the beginning (Photo Credit: Alexander Hadji).
You can find all the videos of the show on Alpha TV website:
Greece, the country of my solo wedding, and where so many people have shown so much interest, support and love for my story. I feel good in Greece...
I’ve received even more sympathy after the show, and some people recognised me in the streets of Athens.
Thanks again to Eleonora Meleti, Sotiris Skouloudis, the whole team of Meta ta Mesanyxta and Alpha TV.
6 / Return to the hotel and I admit that it’s difficult to regain my senses. So much excitement and emotions in such a short time ...
7 / Of course I couldn’t leave Athens without going for a walk and relaxing with my friends. Above all, I couldn’t let you without having made you discover this beautiful city! And all my favourite addresses will be in a future article dedicated to this city.
To conclude, a song by P!nk that I particularly like, and which says: I will never surrender, there is nothing but a victory! Well, it could be Athena's words, couldn't it?
In preparation for my first TV interview in Athens, it seemed obvious to talk about my solo wedding again.
Regarding the different interviews I’ve had recently Media, a question came up often, what did you eat?
And as I've already mentioned champagne in a previous article champagne.html here is the logical continuation.
Greece was not chosen by chance, I like Greek cuisine! So obviously for my solo wedding in Santorini, the menu was traditional.
Just thinking about it, I salivate, all these Mediterranean flavours, olive oil, olives, octopus, squid, feta, taramosalata, moussaka ...
To be honest, any excuse was good to eat, so the day before the ceremony we’ve had a rehearsal dinner, and the day after the wedding, a lunch by the beach (article to come with my favourite addresses).
The feature of Santorinian cuisine comes from some products that are not found elsewhere, such as some small tomatoes and favas, small yellow beans. Thus, some recipes are typical of the island such as fava purée or tomato fritters.
And precisely, it was impossible for me to choose among so many delicious dishes, I wanted everything for my wedding dinner! So, the buffet was the best option.
Santorini BBQ Wedding Buffet provided by Spicy Bites Catering:
Selection of breads & kalamata olives
Santorinian salad – Greek – with feta cheese, capers and virgin olive oil
Taramosalata – Dip prepared with fish roe
Eggplant & tomato slices, cooked in the oven with feta cheese and oregano
Tzatziki – Yoghurt dip with cucumber and olive oil
Fava – Santorinian yellow split peas with onion rings
Tomato fritters, local recipe
Grilled chicken fillets with lemon juice
Grilled lamb chops with oregano
Grilled swordfish fillet
Baby roasted potatoes with fresh onion and oregano
Variety of Greek desserts
My guests and I enjoyed it, we often talk about it with a bit of frustration because we would like to eat it again!
Of course, a wedding is not a real wedding without a cake and mine was created by Petranart, Megalochori, Santorini. A cake with fresh strawberries and vanilla cream. Unfortunately, in the euphoria of the evening I ate only one piece. I had such a regret that when I returned to Santorini this year, to celebrate my first wedding anniversary and my birthday, I reordered the same cake! When we love, we don’t count hahaha...
Thanks again to Spicy Bites Catering, Mr Petros from Petranart, but also Venetsanos Winery for the venue, Alexander Hadji (photographer), and of course Maria Alexopoulou & Katerina Panagopoulou from Divine Weddings Santorini.
Thanks also to my culinary partners who shared all these wonderful moments immortalised in these photos. What would we be without food?? Hahaha
Bon Appétit !
"If you can dream it, you can do it. » Walt Disney
I really like this quote, this man was witty. Someone who made a fortune with a mouse! Sometimes you just need to believe it and it works.
Walt Disney or his full name Walter Elias Disney, was born in 1901 in Chicago (Illinois) and died in 1966 in Burbank (California).
Producer, screenwriter, animator and foremost entrepreneur, his success owes it to the Walt Disney Company he created in 1923.
Through his creative and adventurous vision, he created the first theme park in the world, Disneyland, the only park he designed and inaugurated in 1955 in Anaheim, California.
Since then, many "kingdoms" have been built around the world: Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort in China, and of course Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Paris was inaugurated in 1992 and the 2nd park, Walt Disney Studios opened 10 years later in 2002.
This is the 5th time I go and I still love it!
I really thrill rides and especially roller coasters. But Disneyland has something unique that can’t be found in any other theme park, magic ...
And as Halloween approaches, more effect!
I told you about thrills before so here are my favourite attractions:
Star Tours and Peter Pan, 2 flight simulations that blew me away!
Hyperspace Mountain catapulted me into Star Wars.
'It's a small world', going around the world by boat, my dream is realised ...
Big Thunder Mountain or how a train transports you in the middle of the American canyon...
When there are no more, there are still some!
Walt Disney Studios
Here is the realm of thrill, the Tower of Terror, the Rock'n Roller Coaster or Armageddon.
And even when you think the Crush's Coaster is harmless, well believe me this is a hectic adventure waiting for us ..
Finally, we feel safe on the tram of the Studio Tour, except that again, explosive surprises await us:
After so many emotions, beautiful shops are waiting for us:
Thank you, Mr. Walt Disney, for being able to speak to the child who is in us!
Have a lovely weekend everybody!!
Autumn is here in Europe, rain is back.
Which gave me the idea of a new series of articles that will make you travel this time. And for this first article, I chose Madrid. Remember, I've already talked about this city in a previous article gift-from-science-part-2.html , logical continuation after my solo wedding.
I admit that when it rains, I like to stay in pyjamas all day to gorge on TV series and sweets of all kinds. But sometimes, I take my courage in my hands or rather with an umbrella and a raincoat, and I go for a wander ...
So, follow me today, you will see that life can also be beautiful with wet feet!
Obviously, a hearty breakfast is required before any walk and there are plenty of places in Madrid. There is something for every taste and every budget. Most cafes and restaurants are indoors, which suits us with this weather. Will I choose a traditional brunch with serrano ham, tomato puree, and Spanish tortilla, or churros (addictive donuts), or other European sweets? Hard to decide ...
In the up and down streets of Madrid, I pass buildings I already know and yet with a grey sky, everything is different, my eyes linger on other details, I rediscover these so familiar streets.
The rain is relaxing, it makes the problems flow, the sound is calming, and we can discover things differently, including the beautiful rose garden situated inside the 118 hectares of the majestic El Retiro Park.
The rose garden is beautiful in full sunlight but in the rain it's dreamlike. I’ve strolled for hours in these alleys, all these delicate petals covered with drops. Obviously, only a few people have ventured with this weather, which amplifies the tranquillity of the place and gives me plenty of time to wander and dream ...
After several hours spent in the rain, coffee break is required, and there is no hesitation, you will find me at Motteau! This is my sweet break of the day, especially when I'm homesick because here you taste French pastries.
Not to mention that the setting is charming and very welcoming, I always feel like having coffee with friends, which is so, Juan the boss and Tamara are so friendly.
When I stay in a foreign city for a long time, creating a routine and habits is fundamental. And even if I like solitude, having familiar faces around is essential. Thank you, Tamara and Juan for your kindness and your delicious cakes!
And since I'm not far, let's go to the Caixa Forum, there are always incredible exhibitions. This place reminds you something, and you're right, because that's where Andy Warhol's exhibit was, to read or reread andy-warhol.html
Today, I’m interested in Adolf Loos’ work, an Austrian architect of the early 20th century, this exhibition inspires me a nice article (coming soon).
In the same district, you will also find the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, where I shared with you the article about Sorolla and the fashion sorolla.html
But let’s go to the Prado Museum, a few steps away. Two hours before the museum closes, access to the permanent collection is free. Great classical paintings to contemplate, from Greco to Goya via Velazquez, Rubens and many others, perfect for ending the day.
Another tough choice of the day, dinner. Paella, calamari sandwich - typical of Madrid, ham, or not at all Spanish but so comforting, a pizza.
What is good with big cities is that you can find world cuisine. Which is very nice when you stay several weeks at the same place. And no, I don’t have pleasure eating, you know it's just food hahaha.
Night has fallen, and everything looks different, what a beautiful sight to relax before going to bed. I'm going to have sweet dreams, no doubt.
Who said when it rains it’s boring?? 😉
After talking about amazing hats hat-designer-or-dream-maker.html, how not to speak of an exceptional place where fashion was fundamental, the Palace of Versailles in France.
Residence of Kings of France Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, from 1682 to 1789.
Initially, a small castle built by Louis XIII in 1624 but that Louis XIV and Louis XV radically transformed to make it one of the most beautiful castles in the world.
A succession of richly decorated rooms, with incredible furniture and French sophistication.
I understand better why this castle inspired so many people and why they tried to copy it without ever equalling it.
Gardens and fountains
Absolutely dazzling! I have traveled a lot and visited many palaces, but nothing is close to these gardens.
We are constantly amazed, and we discover lots of hidden paths in the groves.
Even better, the sound and light show "The Night Fountains Show" which gives these gardens an even more romantic and magical charm.
Built in 1687 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart at the request of Louis XIV. It consists of a courtyard, a small palace, gardens and ponds. The exterior of the building is in pink marble, which gives it a romantic elegance.
Built by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour, she will unfortunately die before the end of the construction. It was Madame Du Barry, the next favourite who inaugurated it in 1769.
Rustic and charming, far from the luxury and sophistication of other parts of Versailles, Queen’s hamlet transports us to another world.
Built for Marie-Antoinette in 1782, she loved to take refuge there to forget her status as Queen.
I obviously haven’t visited all, but I can’t wait to go back to discover more!
Visit it if you've never done it and while waiting for it, a short video:
Joaquin Sorolla is a Spanish painter who was born in 1863 in Valencia (Spain) and died in 1923 at Cercedilla (Spain).
His work is admired for his portraits and landscapes with a particular attention put on daylight.
Sorolla was passionate about fashion and liked to offer beautiful clothes to his wife Clothilde. Hence this beautiful exhibition, Sorolla and Fashion at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid (Spain) until May 27 2018. The paintings are exhibited with the clothing and accessories, which makes this visit very original.
Sorolla travelled a lot, Madrid, London, New York, Paris. He painted a lot in France and especially in Biarritz.
A leap in time and space to put stars in our eyes and discover the history of fashion. So, do not miss this exhibition if you are in Madrid.
And for those who want to know more about this artist, a short video on his technique:
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What I love about Madrid (Spain) is whenever you visit this beautiful city, there are always art exhibits to attend.
Art is one of my hobbies, I’m always curious, moved, inspired by art work.
Salvador Dali said: “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.”
When I was 14, I had a very high mark for an art work as a school assignment. I found it the other day in old papers I keep. This work was inspired by a major artist, Andy Warhol, born in 1928 in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania-USA) and died in 1987 in New York (NY-USA). More than 20 years later, I have the great opportunity to admire his talent closely!
This week I would like to talk about a current exhibition of Andy Warhol: El Arte Mecanico (Mechanical Art) at Caixa Forum in Madrid. It displays around 350 pieces and documents from different periods of his life, from the 50s as a young commercial graphic designer, to the 80s as a pop art master.
Everybody knows his work even the young generation. Then, it’s absolutely fantastic to be able to see his work.
So if you are in Madrid or plan to go, don’t miss this exhibition!
El Arte Mecanico, Andy Warhol till 6 May 2018
Caixa Forum, Madrid (Spain)
If you want to learn more about pop art, this video is for you:
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Santorini, officially called Thira, is well known for its whitewashed cubiform houses and blue accents. It is perched over 300m onto the cliffs and overlooking the sea and a sea-drowned caldera (crater).
Santorini is a Greek island from the Cyclades Islands located in the Aegean Sea. Santorini has been devastated by a volcano eruption in the 16th century BC giving it its actual shape.
Santorini is attractive in so many ways: breath-taking scenery, sunset, winery, food, beaches, excavation site, museums...
Why Santorini for my first travel article? It was the place of my solo wedding! More to come…